July 29th, 2010
03:27 PM ET
8 years ago

Ethics panel charges Rangel with conduct discrediting the House

Rep. Charlie Rangel said Thursday he would not attend an ethics committee hearing on his alleged violations of House rules.

Rep. Charlie Rangel said Thursday he would not attend an ethics committee hearing on his alleged violations of House rules.

(CNN) - Rep. Charles Rangel said Thursday he does not plan to attend an ethics committee hearing on his alleged violations of House rules.

The House Ethics Committee on Thursday accused veteran Rep. Charles Rangel of 13 violations of House rules involving alleged financial wrongdoing and harming the credibility of Congress.

"Credibility is what's at stake here; the very credibility of the House itself before the American people," said Rep. Mike McCaul, the ranking Republican on a subcommittee that will hold a trial-like hearing on the charges against Rangel.

McCaul spoke at the subcommittee's first meeting, which heard the charges against Rangel, a 20-term Democrat from New York running for re-election this year. Rangel was not required to attend and did not show up.

According to committee documents, Rangel earlier filed a motion to dismiss the allegations against him that was denied.

Rangel said this week that his lawyers were in talks with committee lawyers on a possible deal to avoid the public hearing on his alleged violations. When Thursday's hearing was delayed for 55 minutes with no explanation, rumors of an imminent agreement quickly spread.

However, the panel gathered and held the hearing, which included the first public announcement of the specific committee charges against Rangel.

According to the charges, Rangel allegedly failed to report more than $600,000 on financial disclosure reports and improperly solicited funds for a project he supported at the City College of New York.

The committee also alleged that Rangel improperly used a rent-subsidized apartment as a campaign office and failed to pay taxes on a home in the Dominican Republic.

McCaul said the allegations, if proven, would violate "the most fundamental code of conduct" for House members.

Rep. Gene Green of Texas, a Democrat who led a two-year ethics subcommittee investigation of Rangel, said it was a difficult job.

"The task is even more difficult when the subject has befriended and mentored so many new members, and I'm one of them," Green said.

Another ethics committee member, Republican Rep. Jo Bonner of Alabama, said "this is truly a sad day where no one, regardless of their partisan stripes, should rejoice."

Rangel temporarily stepped down as Ways and Means Committee chairman earlier this year following the announcement of an ethics investigation of several allegations, including failure to pay taxes on the Dominican Republic residence.

The congressman has also admitted a failure to report several hundred thousand dollars in assets on federal disclosure forms. In addition, he is under scrutiny for the purported misuse of a rent-controlled apartment for political purposes, as well as for allegedly preserving tax benefits for an oil-drilling company in exchange for donations to a project he supported at the City College of New York.

The House ethics committee previously admonished Rangel for violating rules on receiving gifts. Specifically, the committee found that Rangel violated House gift rules by accepting reimbursement payments for travel to conferences in the Caribbean in 2007 and 2008.

Rangel, whose autobiography that discusses his Korean War experience is titled "And I Haven't Had a Bad Day Since," told reporters earlier Thursday that "I have to reassess that (statement)" in light of the pending hearing.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Thursday - in response to a question about Rangel - that there must be "accountability" and "transparency" in cases of ethical transgressions.

"Holding a high ethical standard is a serious responsibility ... and a top priority" for the House Democratic leadership, she said. In terms of political fallout from cases such as Rangel's, "the chips will fall where they may," she said.

Congressional Democrats have reportedly expressed concern that an extended public airing of the charges against Rangel could damage the party's prospects in the November midterm elections.

- CNN's Deirdre Walsh, Brianna Keilar, Evan Glass, Alan Silverleib and Tom Cohen contributed to this report.

Filed under: Charlie Rangel • Popular Posts
soundoff (74 Responses)
  1. Fed Up

    Why is there a "deal" in the works if nothing was done. I thought you were looking forward to the hearing, Charlie. Hmmmmm.

    July 29, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  2. Ed

    Deal? How does he rate a deal? If I violate my company's code of conduct, I'm fired summarily as I should be.

    July 29, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  3. foxglove

    I am a Democrat but I say give him a retirement in prison. It is time the American People but all these disgusting people in jail.....regardless of which party.

    July 29, 2010 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  4. Cosmo

    Who says Rangel is not a stand up guy?

    July 29, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  5. Rig

    Alot of relaxed rules come with that skin color. If he was white, hispanic or asian he would be gone by now.

    July 29, 2010 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  6. DT

    Really? A serious news article and all you have is two pathetic paragraphs? Seriously, this is being kept so under wraps by the media and congress due to the mid-term elections in a few months. Talk about ethics...

    July 29, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  7. john

    How can you have a "deal" over ethics. Shady dealing if you ask me. I am crooked but if I make a deal my friends might not have as much of a problem getting re-elected this fall. Isnt there something wrong with that?

    July 29, 2010 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  8. Gary Curran

    Either his buddies have swayed the Ethics Committee because they are so afraid of all the seats they're going to lose in November, and there's no need for him to attend because nothing is going to happen to him, or, he's back in his office clearing out his desk.

    This is why term limits for Congress is a good idea.

    July 29, 2010 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. John

    Of course they are going to cut a deal with this crook, afterall the other members of Congress surely don't want him to air all their dirty laundry especially this close to an election.

    July 29, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  10. MAG8500

    So all this corrupt politican has to do is admit what he did was wrong and everything is back tomorrow? No fines, no jail time, not getting thrown out of Congress???? This country is a complete and utter laughing stock.

    July 29, 2010 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  11. chasm

    The phrase "ethics deal" somehow sounds wrong to me. But, then, I'm someone who doesn't live and work in Washington, D.C., so I'm probably missing something.

    July 29, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  12. Frank

    I thought the Dems where going to "clean house"? What a joke!

    July 29, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |

    Any "deal" in which Rangel stays in office is nothing but a slap in the face to taxpayers across the country. This thief needs to go to jail.

    July 29, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  14. Rob

    So will Nancy Pelosi drain Rangel from the swamp like she promised?

    July 29, 2010 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  15. Sorensen

    If it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck and smells like a duck –
    It is a duck.
    "Special treatment for powerful politicians" is unacceptable.

    July 29, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  16. yanni

    When the fox guards the chicken coop the foxes eat well. Why do we constantly re-elect crooks?

    July 29, 2010 02:23 pm at 2:23 pm |
  17. Jeff in Texas

    More backroom deals for the beloved Dems. Where's the Speakeress with her pre-2008 election promises to clean up the corruption in Washington? Why isn't she saying, 'No deals! Get on with the Ethics Probe.' Obviously, the 'Washington Clean Up' was not intended to expose the progressive liberals of her party.

    July 29, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  18. Washington DC Insider

    I hope that by "settlement" they mean "resignation." If they go forward with the investigation and find Representative Rangel guilty...I hope they throw the book at him. It is people like him that gives the Tea Party or the far right fuel for their fire.

    July 29, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  19. Denny

    Why is it that politicians get to "settle" their crimes but we the people are "punished" for our crimes?

    July 29, 2010 02:26 pm at 2:26 pm |
  20. ja

    making a deal must reserved for a select few criminals

    July 29, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  21. Angus McDugan

    He is a democrat, so he will get a firm "don't let it happen again" from his liberal buddies and Obama. That will teach him and also be a very strong deterrent for anyone else thinking about breaking the law!!!!!

    July 29, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  22. inofritzn

    If he gets out of this, I'm giving up completely on our "government"

    July 29, 2010 02:30 pm at 2:30 pm |
  23. Dean

    Forget about house rules. Put him in jail like other criminals.

    July 29, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  24. JP

    "Close to a settlement" = swept under the rug. Rangel should resign.

    July 29, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  25. SJ

    Isn't it equally unethical to make a "deal" and not punish him for his unethical practices ? How does making a deal absolve him of his unethical practices ? This is amazing. I guess a common man does not have the luxury of these "deals"

    July 29, 2010 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
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